When I hear people say, “I just have to get through the holidays,” it makes me sad. The Holidays are not meant to “get through”. They are meant to savor and enjoy. I am a bit Clark Griswald. I LOVE the holidays! I understand there are parts that can be stressful, like planning, shopping, money, or family stress. I believe we can choose to say no to the stress while still participating in the festivities, and hopefully this blog will give you some direction on how to do that!
Also some people suffering from depression or grieving a loss during this time can find it a very hard time of year. Please seek out support through friends, a group, coaching, or therapy if this is true. There are so many people in this Universe who care about you and want to listen and help. The biggest tip that I learned from my years as a psychotherapist is that if you are grieving during this time, know that it is just one day. Just like all feelings pass, all days pass as well. Take care of yourself.
For this blog, I would like to give you some tips on how to focus on what you love in order to thrive instead of just survive this holiday season. If family gatherings (or anything gatherings at all) stress you out, please keep reading! Believe me, because this is not coming from a girl who is just happy and positive all the time (ask my hubby haha). I have had to LEARN how to be happy and positive. As much as I love the holidays, I have a history of horrendous social anxiety. I have a tendency to focus on the negative. And I can take things personally like no one else in this world.
Read on to come with me on a path to personal holiday freedom…
Click on the video (from a couple years ago obviously – my hair!) below to watch or scroll on down to read!
Tip # 1. Do not expect other people to please you.
Leave the drama to your mamma people. Of course this is a figure of speech. We do not want your mamma to have any drama either. Haha!
I will never forget one Christmas Eve when I was miserable. No one would have been able to tell by looking at me, but on the inside, I was a mess. Everyone was on my nerves, driving me crazy, and hurting my feelings. I remember complaining to my mom a few days later trying to explain how I felt. I had a hard time putting it into words, because everything I said sounded so stupid, petty, and small when I would hear it out loud.
The reason? It WAS stupid, petty, and small! But I wasn’t convinced yet! It HAD to be real, because it FELT so real! I had been wronged, and I was going to prove it! Finally I blurted out, “NO ONE ACTED EXACTLY HOW I WANTED THEM TO ACT!” My mom and I both bursted out laughing! Did I seriously just say that? Was it possible that the problem was me?
It was not only possible, it was definite. I was the problem. Yes, other people were annoying, said or did things I did not like, but they are human beings, and that is what human beings do. Other human beings were not put on this earth to please us and do exactly what we want them to do. This is not to say we let people walk all over us. We should lovingly stand up for ourselves when necessary. But overall, just let other people be who they are and worry about yourself.
If you feel like someone in particular is really out to get you, make sure you give this to God/Love/The Universe knowing that you cannot possibly understand the entire situation from your limited point of view. Let this person/situation BE in the space of non-understanding. This is when it feels most scary, and also when God will save you. This way you can also lovingly stand up for yourself when necessary. Love says no just as easily as it says yes. It does so without gossip and drama.
And that leads me to my next point, stop with the gossip and drama. Try your best to not talk negatively about other people this holiday season. I don’t care how ridiculous they are or what they did or how they said it. We think that talking about something and “venting” or gossiping will help us feel better. Well it doesn’t. It leave us feeling drained. Humbly rise above my friend. Rise above.
Which leads me to my next tip on thriving this holiday season,
2. Do not expect to please everyone!
That was the other part of my problem. If others did not act how I wanted them to act, I was judging their behavior. In turn, I would judge my own behavior: “I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have worn that. I should have handled that differently. I should have said this.” OMG, and I’m not exaggerating!
Stop shoulding all over yourself! It is super-unattractive! Remember those other human beings who are sometimes annoying and do things you do not like? You are also human being who is sometimes annoying and does things other people do not like. I know that’s hard to believe!
If you can accept this, you are well on your way to thriving this holiday season! You can start new each and every moment! You can have the most fun savoring every bit: the good (which you will find it mostly is), the bad (you can give this to God to take care of), and the beautiful. Which leads me to my third tip,
3. Watch for angels!
Did I mention the beautiful? I will never forget one Christmas Eve at church with my mom, nieces, and husband. I saw an angel! I thought it was the way the decorations were, that the church meant to make it an angel. I showed my mom, nieces, and husband, and they could see it too!
But guess what? The church did not make that angel! It was there for only us to see! If I had been thinking about everything wrong that happened that day, how this person hurt my feelings, how I ate too much, how I wish my husband would not have said this or that, I NEVER would have seen it!
It was a beautiful moment. BE the person who sees the angels this holiday season. Be the person who points them out. Use all of your senses to be fully present. Enjoy every last sound, touch, sight, and smell. If you do this, you will find an angel.
A Course in Miracles says, “The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come.”
Think of Christ as loving thought, a light in the darkness. Have you made room in your mind for the birth of more loving thoughts? Have you created a sacred space in your mind where love can prevail? If you do the things suggested in this blog, you will create a space for love and miracles in your life. Take some time today, on Christmas Eve, to create the space for Christ in your mind, so when he comes, you can recognize him and invite him to stay.
Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas!
Peace and Love,
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